Filmmaker/author John Waters kicked of the Brooklyn Book Fair on Friday night with a live discussion with LA Times book reviewer Carolyn Kellogg about his new book Role Models.
At the event, Waters told hilarious personal stories making his life sound like one of his films. He loves drinking in Baltimore bars. He only drinks one night of the week, though on Fridays, he drinks to excess. (He even schedules his hangovers).
As a single older man, he said that he is often seated next to interesting women at events, and really lapped up sitting with Joan Kennedy in a pink sparkly dress and fresh from plastic surgery. And while Waters is openly gay, he thinks more homosexuals should stay in the closet. “I love dating closeted guys. They don’t want to go to premieres. They don’t want to meet famous people. They don’t even want to go out to dinner because they are worried they’ll be seen. They just want to come over.”
He went into detail about his role models – the focus of the book. Waters’ role models range from 50s crooner Johnny Mathis and fashion designer Rei Kawakubo to former Manson family member Leslie Van Houten and a lesbian stripper from Baltimore named Lady Zorro.
As a child, Waters wanted to grow up to be an “exaggerated teenager” after seeing teens necking while listening to Mathis. He also loves the cutting edge fashion designs of Kawakubo, whose Comme de Garcons line make him look slightly homeless. He especially loves wearing these outfits in Baltimore, where people feel sorry for him, rather than in New York, where people might recognize the expensive fashion. Equating it to Andy Warhol wearing a $30,000 diamond necklace under a turtleneck, Waters said it is the ultimate in being elite, because only you know how expensive it is.
Waters also shared that he likes Justin Bieber, but hates reality TV. He said that reality TV is mean spirited and he celebrates and loves his characters. “Reality TV is supposed to make you feel superior to the people in the shows and look down on them,” he said. “In my films, I want you to look at the characters and laugh with me at them.”
He also shared many of his philosophies on life, like that he doesn’t have pets because he is not lonely. “I think that pets should roam in packs and bite you,” he said. “I don’t think that they should be subjected to a life of human caresses.”
The Kindle edition of the book is $11.99 and is a fun read for any Waters fan.